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Hockey player killed in ‘freak accident’ during game

By CM Chaney · October 30, 2023

In brief…

  • Adam Johnson died after apparent neck injury during game in England
  • Collision with opposing player led to "freak accident" on ice
  • Nottingham Panthers "truly devastated" over death of American player
  • Ice hockey community in mourning after "tragic" death at age 29
American ice hockey player Adam Johnson died at 29 following an on-ice "freak accident" during a game in England that caused a serious neck injury as he collided with an opponent, devastating his team Nottingham Panthers and the wider hockey community.  The Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey Club / Wikimedia

American ice hockey player Adam Johnson has died at age 29 following a tragic accident during a game in England over the weekend.

Johnson suffered a serious injury after colliding with an opposing player on Saturday night and being cut across the neck by the player’s skate.

Johnson was playing for the Nottingham Panthers against the Sheffield Steelers in the second period of their Challenge Cup match. The Nottingham club said everyone was “truly devastated” by Johnson’s sudden death.

“The Nottingham Panthers are heartbroken to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night,” the team said Sunday.

The Panthers thanked those who rushed to support Johnson after the on-ice collision that led to a “major medical emergency.” Around 8,000 fans were reportedly in attendance at the arena.

The Elite Ice Hockey League, England’s top circuit, postponed all games scheduled for Sunday after the distressing incident.

“Many of us will have found Saturday’s events very distressing,” the league said, asking people to care for each other.

Born in Minnesota, forward Johnson started his pro career in the American Hockey League before reaching the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, playing 13 games and scoring 4 points over two seasons.

In 2019, he scored a goal for the Penguins against the Minnesota Wild. “The NHL family mourns the passing of former Penguin Adam Johnson. Our prayers and deepest condolences go to his family, friends and teammates,” the NHL said.

After also playing in Sweden and Germany, Johnson had joined Nottingham for the 2023-24 season in England. He was described as an outstanding player by the Panthers.

The sudden death of the 29-year-old American player has shocked the hockey community. Johnson was praised as a terrific teammate and competitor taken too soon.